Thursday, March 21, 2013

Pirates of Maine

The first pirate to operate in the waters of New England was one Dixey Bull. In June, 1632, he was peacefully trading in Penobscot Bay when a roving French company seized his goods. Bull reacted by gathering a small company to make a venture against the French. After vainly searching for Frenchmen on whom to work his revenge, Bull and his company began plundering English traders. Finding the pickings easy, the newly formed pirate company looted Pemaquid. Pursued by a small flotilla dispatched by the authorities of the Massachusetts Bay Company, Dixey Bull vanishes from history, said to have gone over to join the French.

Dixey Bull is said to have buried his loot in and around the Casco Bay area. In 1855 a farmer plowed up twenty one pieces of gold and thirty one pieces of silver on Richmond Island in Casco Bay. This was probably part of Dixey Bull's loot from the sack of Pemaquid.

Another pirate who left treasure in the Casco Bay area was Edward Low. Captain Ned Low, in the four years of his piratical career, stole immense amounts of treasure and committed incomprehensible acts of cruelty. At one point, Low spread information that he intended to kill the master of every New England vessel he captured. Ned Low's insane rage was no idle boast. A few examples will suffice. He ripped the master of one New England vessel open alive; roasted the poor man's heart; and then compelled the first mate to eat it. He slashed the master of another vessel unmercifully with his cutlass; then cut off the unfortunate man's ears and had them roasted. After sprinkling the ears with salt and pepper, he made the crew eat them. The wounded captain's wounds were so severe he soon died. Low also intended to torture and murder the captured crew, but his own men had had enough and forced Low to release the honest seamen. These released seamen brought home information that Low carried an enormous cargo of gold and silver coin and plate.

Low's end was no less than he deserved. Overthrown by his crew, the psychopathic Low was cast adrift without provisions. Rescued by a French Man-of-War, Low was soon discovered to be a pirate. If ever a man sailing the seas deserved to be hanged and gibbeted in chains it was Ned Low. And so it was.

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1 comment:

CA said...

Interesting article!